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Showing posts from 2012


If you know me (that is, know me in real life versus the blogging world) then you probably know that I am none too fond of the self-help mentality. It's not that I have anything at all against people in need of help; I put myself at the top of the list of people I know who need help. But the notion that I can somehow fix myself ~ let alone fix anyone else! ~ is a complete misnomer.  It's a continual cycle of "work harder" followed by gut-wrenching disappointment. And there's a reason this is the cycle of's because we cannot fix ourselves! That's God's job, and He's exceptionally good at it.

Having said all that, I'd like to share about something that we moms do have the ability to change for the better. Our attitudes. I'll go so far as to say that I feel many homeschool mamas could benefit from an attitude adjustment (me included!). We're often so tired, over-worked, and spread thin that we succumb to a bad attitude wit…

Real Life Real Miracles ~ by James L. Garlow & Keith Wall

The book Real Life Real Miracles (by James L. Garlow & Keith Wall) is an easy-to-read, fast-paced and enormously interesting book that kept me reading "just one more chapter" late into the night. Each person's story is shared with enough detail to keep the reader engaged, but not so much that it seems watered down. And the authors' have done a first-rate job of honing in on the main points of each miracle story while maintaining the individuality of those who experienced the miracles.

From finding a lost diamond to the crushing weight of a semi-truck, those raised from the dead to a woman who lived through a plane that came apart in the air, electrocution to deadly cancer, the miracles you will read about in Real Life Real Miracles point toward the love, mercy, compassion and awe-inspiring power of God. The same Jesus who walked the earth over 2000 years ago performing miracles to those in need still works in miraculous ways today. It's good to pause and rem…

Dreams and Visions ~ by Tom Doyle

I was very interested in what details this book might contain from the moment I opted to review it...and I was blessed, encouraged and humbled by what I discovered in it's 23 chapters. This book is one that all Christians should read; but in all honesty, I think Christians who live in America ought to put it on their "Annual Required Reading" list. Our attitude toward Muslims needs a little adjusting, and Dreams and Visions is just the book to provide said adjustments!

Easy to read, with only the most well-documented cases included, Dreams and Visions opens your door to the world of Islam and your heart to those living for Christ in a way that most of us can hardly imagine. While many in the western world plod along in our walk with the Lord Jesus, needing others to beg and plead and cajole and entertain us while we grumble-all-the-way, those who follow Christ in Cairo and Mecca often do so after one dream or vision or Jesus saying, "You are to follow Me." The…

What Are You Reading This December?

Okay, maybe I should rephrase that question! What are you reading this December BESIDES homeschool books?

Many of us celebrate Advent with our families during the month of December, and that often includes family reading. Are there any books you just have to read each year? Or does your book list vary? And do you only read as a family, or do you have something special that you read this month?

When my kids were younger, I found it hard to give myself "permission" to read a book in my spare time (whatever spare time is, haha!). I felt guilty if I wasn't reading the Bible or something homeschool related. Now I see the folly in that type of thinking. There are long, tough seasons of motherhood and often it's during those times that we refuse to allow ourselves a break. But there's nothing wrong with having a book on your nightstand...even if you only manage to read a page or two each week.

My kids are all growing up quickly (the youngest is 12) and those long day…

Still Lolo by Lauren Scruggs ~ Tyndale Book Review

The young woman who suffered terrible injuries when she unintentionally walked into the prop of a small aircraft tells her story, and that of her entire family, in the book Still Lolo (from Tyndale House Publishers). More than just the details about her accident and recovery, the book details the childhood of Lauren Scruggs, her close bond with twin sister Brittany, her relationship with her parents and her walk with the Lord. Short chapters each feature the "voice" of one family member, providing a broad picture of Lauren (known as Lolo).

I found this book to be a fast read, and I don't normally pick up books about events that have occurred so recently (silly habit I have of reading primarily "old" non-fiction and even "older" fiction) but when I saw Still Lolo available for review from Tyndale I decided to read the story behind the propeller accident. I have to say that I do appreciate the honesty and openness of all member of the Scruggs family; t…

Ending November Well

November is the one month of the year when, perhaps more than any other, we pause to give conscious and audible thanks to God. And now that the actual event of Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, it's easy for many of us to cease in our giving of thanks. At least, until next November rolls around on the 2013 calendar.

I'd like to encourage you to continue to give thanks to the Lord our God on a daily, continual, and ongoing basis. He gives us every heartbeat ~ He gives us every moment we experience ~ He gives us His unending love ~ and He has given us His Son. It's really not much to give Him thanks in return.

Don't let the Christmas rush be the reason you end up thanking the Lord less and less each day. I'm sure that sounds pretty ridiculous when it's phrased like that...ya know, it's not Christmas that makes us irritable or stressed or over-worked. It's not the very season in which we ought to be most intentional about thanking God for the gift of His…

The Radical Question ~ A Radical Idea by David Platt

This little 110-page book by David Platt packs a big punch. I loved it right from the very first page. The author's heart for the suffering church, and his deep desire for the westernized church to live a radical life for the kingdom of God, shines through on every page. I whole heartedly agree with David's sentiment that the church in America is, well, a little soft.

To follow hard after Jesus, to truly be a disciple in this modern era...what does that look like? And are we missing it by an inch or by a mile?

The Radical Question, A Radical Idea is an easy read that answers the type of questions mentioned above. But while it may be an easy read, it's not at all easy to live out a radical life. Don't bother reading this book if you don't want to be challenged.

However if you have a desire for something more in your Christian walk, and you share David Platt's belief that we were meant for so much more than large church buildings and self-serving church programs…

Schoolhouse Review ~ Vocal Coach Singer

Vocal Coach Singer is a 12-disc singing system for youth through adults. It was created by Chris and Carole Beatty, two amazing people who have been teaching singing for more than 40 years. They have established credibility and an excellent track record as vocal coaches, and that makes Vocal Coach a solid choice for anyone (particularly homeschoolers) who are looking for singing guidance.

Here is what I got ~

7 Training CDs:Getting StartedComplete BreathingComplete Warm-UpComplete ToneComplete Expanding Your RangeComplete DictionComplete Performance 4 Workout CDs:Daily Workout High Voice 1 & 2Daily Workout Medium/Low Voice 1 & 2 Plus these great educational tools:Guidebook – Full-size Instructional Guidebook to Ensure SuccessPrintable Lead Sheets – each exercise in our course, plus track listsPersonal Singer's Journal (Getting Started Journal &; Workout Journal) to Track Your ProgressVocal Coach Song Evaluation – Evaluation form to enable you to make more intelligent …

Balance Your Time

It's easy for us homeschool moms to justify some extra time spent on "improving our homeschool". We can search for creative ideas on Pinterest, soak in a bubble bath while reading our favorite homeschool magazine cover to cover, or run off the the library to gather some books for upcoming studies. None of these is wrong, but spending too much time "improving" can be detrimental to our marriages and our children.

More than a well-prepared mom, our kids need us to simply be fully there as a mom. Husbands don't need a perfectly organized closet as much as they need a wife who loves and respects them. And those who are watching us as we live out this homeschool lifestyle (in particular those who may be wondering if homeschooling is an option for their family) need to see us enjoying the life we're living rather than always striving to "improve" our life...which sometimes is more about "escaping" from our commitments more than making impr…

Schoolhouse Review - Growing Up Wild

Growing Up Wild is probably best described as a foreign missions curriculum, but it really is far more than that. Yes, it is the story of a homeschooling/missionary family who are raising their four boys in Papua, Indonesia. And yes, the Growing Up Wild episodes are enormously insightful as to what the day-to-day life of a missionary family is like. But they are also educational, covering a wide swath of subjects, and just plain entertaining. I could not have been more pleased with Growing Up Wild, and I am hopeful the Wild family will continue to create more episodes.

I received Volume 1 & Volume 4 from their set of 5 DVD's. Volume 1 contains the episodes Home Sweet Hut, Supply Trip, and Sun & Water. Volume 4 has the episodes Amazing World Around Us, Adventures in Culture, and Tribal Calling. Each episode is about 15 minutes long, so each DVD has about 45 minutes worth of video time. But each one also has a CD with an Activity Guide that has fun things you can do with yo…

Redemption by Bryan Clay (BookSneeze review)

The book Redemption (by Bryan Clay) was not at all what I expected. It was so much better than I'd hoped it would be! Sure, it's a great story about an inspirational athlete. But it's also the story of a young man who grew up to be a loving husband and a dedicated father. And that is what makes Redemption a great book in my opinion.

This book is very easy to read - you feel sort of like Bryan is having a friendly conversation with you. He's very real about his faults and surprisingly humble about his accomplishments. And as I mentioned earlier, his heart to be a good husband and father makes this book terrific. I think any young person who hopes to become a professional athlete should consider reading this book, because it provides a realistic and healthy attitude about the world of sports from a Christian perspective.

I hope people consider reading Redemption, because this book can impact the attitude of an entire generation of young believers ~ helping them to see …

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

Ever heard of Melissa & Doug toys? They make super-awesome stuff that kids young and old love to play with. And right now they are having a super fantastic holiday special called "Melissa & Doug's Terrific Twenty". They are giving away a toy every day through November 26th. You really don't want to miss it - click on the link above or the image below to check it out!  Good luck :)

To see the super terrific toys they're giving away, click HERE!
And check out their Facebook page to enter on a daily basis HERE!
In addition to this super-awesome giveaway, you can win one of their super-awesome toys (the game Suspend) from me by leaving a comment (with a way to contact you if you're the winner!) on this post! The winner will be chosen on November 27th, so don't dawdle, leave a comment for you chance to win Suspend! Click HERE to learn more about his super-awesome game.

Good luck and be sure to keep Melissa & Doug in mind this Christmas - you'…

Jesus Pure & Simple by Wayne Cordeiro

I have read quite a few books - some for enjoyment, others out of necessity, and many for a review. Jesus Pure & Simple (by Wayne Cordeiro) falls into the latter category. It's the only category it fits in, actually, as I did not enjoy this book at all.

I tried - honest I tried!- but the author's theology and interpretation of God's Word just doesn't fit with my belief in Jesus, pure and simple!

It's twelve chapters that are meant to be a down-to-earth compilation of the real Christian life as it was originally meant to be. But it seemed to be more of a rambling book, not always flowing very well, and sometimes just plain confusing. I could not always determine the point the author was attempting to make; and at other parts of the book, I was unable to draw the conclusions he was drawing from Scripture ~for example, his odd idea that all of us are part of the "666" mentioned in Revelation - and his assertion that it's not the "222's or …

Schoolhouse Review ~ Journeys of Faithfulness by Sarah Clarkson

Last year I was blessed to review a wonderful book by Sarah Clarkson (Read for the Heart). This fall I am doubly blessed to have received another of Sarah's books for use in our family's homeschool. This is truly an inspired book, and Sarah's love for the Lord and desire for young ladies to grow in His grace can be found on every page.

Journeys of Faithfulnessis a 232-page book for girls age 12 & up that shares about the lives of Mary, Martha, Esther, Ruth and Mary, mother of Jesus. Divided into four parts, with three chapters in each part, this book is a perfect fit for young ladies who are seeking to grow in their walk with the Lord. Each chapter contains a reading selection about one woman's life, a devotional, a Bible study, and a place to journal or take notes. I can see this being a valuable resource for any family raising daughters, and from the perspective of a homeschool mom, it was the perfect fit for daily Bible assignments.

Sarah takes the Bible and w…

Do You Know Enough of the Word?

We all know that Jesus countered Satan's temptations by saying, "It is written..." and after three times, Satan left him alone until a more opportune time. But do we actually apply this when we find ourselves in discouraging, exhausting, or tempting circumstances? Don't answer that question until you actually think about it for a minute....

Defeating Satan by reminding him what God's Word says only works if we actually, well, remind him what God's Word says! Sometimes I wonder if we think we're reminding him (when we haven't actually quoted any of the Word). Other times I think we hope that the Lord will just send our enemy away, or that the devil will just leave us alone if we pout and maybe even whine a little bit. Well, let me tell you emphatically, that will not work! And if we don't spend much time in God's Word, thereby not knowing what it does (and does not!) say, we will end up getting whooped up on spiritually.

So how much of God'…

Schoolhouse Review ~ RECON

RECON is a high-school worldview curriculum written by Bill Perry, a homeschooling father of seven. Intended for students in the 11th and 12th grades, RECON aims at helping prepare students not only to survive but to thrive spiritually while at college. Having a son in college, three daughters in high school and one in middle school...well, let's just say I found myself pretty interested in what this curriculum had to offer!

The first thing I did when I received RECON was to read the author's letter. It stated that I will best understand the curriculum by first visiting their web site's "About" page. He suggests reading this information prior to teaching any lessons. Click HERE to go directly to that page.

Once I had a grasp of the overall intent of RECON, I was ready to dig into the materials. I received the Teacher's Manual along with one copy of the Student Workbook. Comprised of 72 worldview lessons in a 434 page book, the Teacher's Manual has a weal…

Schoolhouse Review ~ Activity Bags Science Experiments In a Bag (E-Books 1, 2 & 3)

Do your children love conducting science experiments? Do you need some "lab time" to meet your state's homeschool requirements? Do you, as the homeschooling mother, dislike the prep work involved in doing science experiments? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, Activity Bags Science Experiments In a Bag could be just what you need!

I received a set of three e-books ( Book 1, Book 2, Book 3) from Activity Bags to use with my children in our family homeschool.  The experiments dealt cut a wide swath through the sciences, covering biology, general science, nature, chemistry, and the human body. I simply downloaded each e-book, opened it using Adobe Reader, and started "doing" science! Okay, there was a little more involved than that...but in all honesty, compared to many of the experiments we've done over the years it was almost as easy as 1, 2, 3!

All the experiments follow the scientific method ~ so your child will gain scientific und…

Liebster Award!

I received the sweetest email from my dear friend Michelethjs week. What a surprise to find she had nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award! The award itself was a great surprise, but the real blessing was that it came from Michele! (You need to check out her blog ~ Faith, Family and Fridays!)Thanks for thinking of me, sweet friend!!

What is the Liebster Blog award? The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have not yet hit the 200 follower mark. The award is presented by a fellow blogger as a sort of pat on the back "you've got a great thing started" type of award. "liebster" is German for "favorite"

The rules-
1. List 11 facts about yourself. 2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
3. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
4. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate.
5. Go to each bloggers page and let them know about the award. 6. Thank the person who nominated you and lin…

Schoolhouse Review ~ Eye Level Reading Rulers (Crossbow Education)

I knew what I hoped would happen when my daughter began using Reading Rulers (a very, very cool reading tool from Crossbow Education). But I knew I'd have to give this product a thorough working-over in order to know it was helping my daughter. So I worked it over...and I wasn't disappointed!

Crossbow Education's motto is "Reading Tools Anyone Can Grab" ~ and it's a fitting motto! I received their ten-pack of Eye Level Reading Rulers (assorted colors, currently costs $16.95) and my 12-year-old daughter started trying them out right away. She did a "test read" with all ten colors, and then began to narrow down the options based on which colors were most comfortable for her. She settled on celery because it made the text the most clear to her (I found pink worked best for me - so be sure to have your children try out all the colors to find their ideal match). To determine which one was ideal, she simply laid them side-by-side over the book she was read…